India is all set to welcome its new Chief Justice, the nation's highest judiciary official, as the incumbent Justice NV Ramana is nearing the end of his tenure. As the senior-most judge after the incumbent would be replacing the latter, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit will probably become the next Chief Justice.
Powering Lalit's possibilities to take over the top post, current Chief Justice NV Ramana has on Thursday - August 4 recommended Lalit's name to the Union government to succeed him. On Wednesday, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice sent an official communication to NV Ramana's office to recommend his successor. Based on the communication, NV Ramana has now recommended Justice Lalit's name for the next Chief Justice of India.
NV Ramana became the Chief Justice on April 24, 2021, and he will be demitting the office on August 26 after a tenure of over 16 months. An official statement from Ramana's office has said that he had received the letter from the Union Ministry asking to recommend his successor. The statement said, "Today (03.08.2022) at 21.30 hrs, the Secretariat of the Hon'ble Chief Justice of India has received a communication dated August 3, 2022, from Hon'ble Minister of Law and Justice requesting Hon'ble CJI to recommend the name of his successor."
According to the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), which governs the process of appointment of judges in the higher judiciary, the outgoing CJI initiates the process of naming the successor after getting a communication from the law ministry. The MoP says the senior-most judge of the apex court is considered fit to hold the office of the CJI and the views of the outgoing head of the judiciary have to be sought at the appropriate time.
However, the MoP does not specify the time limit for the initiation of the process of recommending the name of the successor CJI. Though Lalit becomes the Chief Justice, he will be in the office for a short span of time. It has been reported that Lalit will be serving as the Chief Justice for three months as he will retire on November 8, 2022. Lalit was a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court. His father Justice UR Lalit was a senior advocate and was an additional judge of the Delhi High Court.